In an interview with EthicalFoods.com, Chef Magnanelli talks about how climate change has impacted his restaurant and his reasons for championing sustainable agriculture by choosing to source his ingredients locally.
Why source sustainable food from local suppliers?
It’s something we whole-heartedly believe in—my parents are small business owners so I’ve always been privy to supporting local whenever I can. Plus, I like to have relationships with the growers and handpick the food that comes in to my restaurant. It also doesn’t hurt to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.
Has your restaurant been affected by the drought, ocean acidification, or any other changes in climate?
The drought has affected the feed for our cows on a local level. In fact, just last week we were notified by one of our main suppliers that due to the drought they were being forced to raise their prices, which is something they haven’t done in years—if ever. Unfortunately it’s possible that will reflect on potential price changes for us as well.
Are there any challenges that you’ve encountered in trying to find local suppliers of sustainably cultivated food?
For us it’s actually the opposite. We are so fortunate to have so many local sources for sustainable food. Everyday we have more and more local farms approaching us with really quality product. San Diego is amazing in that way, it’s something that chefs across the country dream about having access to.
If you could change or accomplish one thing in 2013 that would make local, sustainable food more accessible, what would that be?
I would stop the government subsidies to large farms. If we could do that, it would force people to buy local and make conscious decisions and in turn lower the prices for local and organic products.
Any other thoughts on how climate change will affect agriculture and the restaurant industry?
We have definitely seen some erratic seasons. For example last summer was super hot and long, lasting well into November. Fig season for us was super long. The problem with the climate change is that we can’t as easily predict what produce will be available when, with such drastic changes.
photo credit: Andy Boyd
More Ethical Foods Restaurant & Chef Interviews
Whether through the use of what would be considered industrial waste or bringing back a piece of history by using antique items, restaurants are finding… Read more
On all sides farmers, produce distributors, and restaurants are gathering around the concept of local, seasonal food. Find out what it takes to get local… Read more
Forget natural gas, electricity or even solar panels: one roving restaurant uses solar ovens to cook up some thought provoking fare. Read more
Mixt is at the forefront of a new trend—eco-conscious chain restaurants. With casual lunch joints like Mixt embracing sustainable practices, green dining is no longer… Read more
Margot McNeeley, founder of Project Green Fork in Memphis, Tennessee, talks to EthicalFoods.com about the challenges of helping restaurants move toward sustainable practices. Read more
Restaurants with their own farms gain a unique appreciation for what it takes to produce quality food. Chef Alex Seidel has gotten a lot of… Read more
Uncommon Ground is simply a comfortable neighborhood joint—one where an ethos of sustainability is woven into every aspect. Imagine a world where every corner tavern… Read more
What sets Forage apart is its ingredients – or more specifically, their sources. Dedicated advocates of ultra-local, Forage leads the way in inspired community sourcing,… Read more
Restaurants are a significant source of pollution—from food waste to spent cooking oil to toxic chemicals. Eden Canon explores the ways in which the restaurant… Read more
Restaurants with roots Restaurants across the country are now boasting farm to table fare on their menus, sourced from local farms or, increasingly, a farm… Read more
Sometimes sustainability is equated with upscale restaurants that specifically market their local and sustainable credentials. But what about your favorite pizza joint, or the place… Read more
Co-owner of Mouzon House, Dianne Pedinotti, talks with EthicalFoods.com about how her restaurant has been impacted by climate change and shares what it takes to… Read more